Monday, August 18, 2014

8.18.14 Farewells + Golden Contacts = Bittersweet Memories

Alright everybody.
The wall we helped build last week.

Saying good-bye to Elder Reynolds

Saying "See ya at home" to Elder Garner!

youth are amazing!

Today just started the first day of my last transfer on my mission. Everybody let's give a round of applause! BOOM PANIS! ;) that's just a Filipino thing, I don't think you'd get it. Oh well. This week has been good. I've taught more lessons this week than I have any other week my entire mission so things are looking up. We've been working close with our recent converts and they've given us some pretty solid referrals and 3 out of the 4 referrals that we received came to church yesterday. Speaking of church, we also had 13 investigators at church yesterday. Mission record for me. I know other missionaries and areas get higher than that, but 13 for me, I'll take that. We're trying to maintain it though, that's going to be the hard part. There was a lot of first timers that came and I really hope that they liked church. It was a good sacrament meeting too. One of the topics was on the Sabbath Day and it was pretty straight forward, I really liked it. An RM gave the talk, he's also the Elder Quorum President. There were 3 investigators that were there that we've been working with and they've been former investigators as well for years actually. They've finally come to church! WHOOO!!! We have an appointment later tonight with them. They have 1 member in the family, one of the kids who's 18 I think. I asked him after church what they thought and he said that they have a lot of questions, but they liked it overall I think. So things are looking good with them.
The Narciso Family is doing amazing and still progressing. They'll be interviewed by President Lopez on August 30 because of the Cohabitation thing, but they'll for sure pass I'm pretty sure. Then they'll be baptized on the 6th of September. The mom is just super solid. She's just like, I feel like this church is where i belong and it's my home and stuff like that, things that I've never heard anyone say before in my life on my mission. I guess I will finally have a chance to baptize someone golden. All my baptisms have been super hard to get and things like that or children, but I prayed to baptize a family before I go home, looks like the Lord works in crazy ways. Testimony builder for sure!
BomBom, our other investigator was progressing well enough and we've moved his date to the 30th of August so he'll be interviewed next Sunday and then we'll baptize him the following Saturday! ;) Things are looking up and all is going well right now in our area. Sacrament attendance was booming yesterday. The Bishop had to quiet everyone down. I felt bad, but still, it's nice to calm people down because there's a lot in the sacrament hall. 

I don't have much to report. I keep getting reminded that I only have 38 days left till you guys show up here! We're working hard and getting a lot of stuff done. Still loving being a missionary, but I'm really tired. Still, I will push to the finish line. I don't have time for games. Love you guys back home! Y'all take care okay? ;)

Halong kamo pirme!
Elder Ellis

8.11.14 New Area + Baptism = Hard Work & Blessings

Hey Everyone. How's it going today? I hope this email finds you well and safe and feeling the spirit. I've been blessed so much this week by the Lord. He's been helping us so much in our work and in our teachings. I've had 2 special experiences that I would like to share this day:
1. During a lesson on Thursday night we were teaching a family. The son, who is 19 years old is the only member and he's super strong. The rest of the family is devoted Catholic, but so is everyone here. During our lesson we were explaining that in order to know the truth they need to read the Book of Mormon and Pray about it. One of the sisters then says," I don't want to read a book and pray about it." She then goes on to say that we are too young, inexperienced kids, and the only thing that people want in life now is money. And me as an american they just look at me like I'm just super stuck up and things and have tons of money. Anyway... my companion and the member that was working with us talked with them for about 20 minutes. Usually I'm the guy to would just try to argue back, but I did something different this time. I just sat and listened closely to what they were saying. The Sister also said that she wants people to be frank about the teaching, eloquent works, and jazzed up lessons. Just almost as to persuade her to join our church, not because of the Holy Ghost, but because of us an missionaries. While they were talking I prayed. I asked God if I can for once be a little bold with this woman and just tell her how it really is, straight up, our church is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet, all other churches are false, the whole deal. As soon as I said the Amen, I was overcome with just this feeling of peace and hope. I'm not sure if it was a real voice speaking to me, but almost as if I just heard someone say, "Go for it Elder." When it was mine turn I just opened my mouth and it was literally filled with powerful words and strong testimony. I've never taught so boldly my whole mission or felt like that before. I testified that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he saw God The Father and the Son and they told him that none of the other churches were true, including the one that this family belongs to and that's why there was a need for a restoration. Then I told them that the Book of Mormon is from God and it's true and the most true book of the earth. Other things were said that I don't remember, I just really remember telling them that their church was false, which I've never done before in my mission, nor would I usually say that, but the spirit said that I could. So, I obeyed. I don't know, it was just an unusual experience that I don't normally have, but it was amazing.
2. I wanted to give an update on the Family that we're teaching. The Narciso Family. The mom is always super busy working from morning until night to provide for their family and the dad takes care of the kids. It's both of their seconds marriages and they're really trying hard to make it in life. I'll actually say this is the MOST GOLDEN family I've ever taught in my mission. I've always wanted to baptize a family, with a kid, not just the parents, and now it's finally going to happen on September 6. We were teaching them yesterday and the mom just goes off on how much she's been searching for the truth. She said that she's been to so many churches, been members or just joined other groups, everything, but all of them were lacking something she said. She said that her son was afraid to go outside and hang out with people, he was bullied during high school and dropped out, but ever since we came and introduced the church to them, he has tons of friends and he's always at the church with the young men for activities and things. Their son even came with me on Splits this past Saturday. While I'm listening to this mother, I'm just thinking about how amazing it is that God has just prepared somebody so much. Almost as if it's fake! I was shocked at how prepared this family was. I'm still shocked. I was so happy yesterday when they all accepted to be baptized on September 6. The mom, dad, and the son who is 15. They have another son who is 7, so he'll just be baptized when he's 8 years old. I introduced the father to the Bishop yesterday and the Bishop was thankful, I don't think many Elder's do that I guess because he complained about it last week, so I just introduced Brother Narciso to Bishop yesterday and he was happy. Sister is making some other friends with the relief society and it's just working out so well. The son is in young men and doing great and has friends! I'm one happy missionary right now.
We had a baptism this past week of Sister Reselle. I baptized her. Then I also baptized the candidate of the Sisters as well. Sister Reselle is 15 and at first didn't want to listen to the missionaries, but she slowly wanted to and now she's a member. Her mom and Sister are members too, they're really cool. We like visiting them. My goal is to go for the dad. That's what I want. I don't have much time left, but I'm going to try to at least get him to church before I go home. He's not super interested, sort of just, belief in God is all you need type deal. We call it, "Dios man gihapon" Which means, it's all just about God. People say that to us all the time like, look we all believe in God, that's all that matters. But, little to they know, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father actually have a church here on the earth that's been established! I love it! ;)

I miss you so much and I hope that you're all having a great week. Elder Reynolds who lives in the house with us goes home this week... which sucks to see, but I'm right behind him. And Garner goes home too this week. I probably won't see him before he leaves the island, unless he's here at the mall for p day, which I don't know. Sorry mom, I didn't take pictures of my house this week, I'll do it next week though and send it to you. This week is transfer week so my companion could get transferred, but we don't think it's likely. He's only been here 4 weeks longer than me so we're both fairly new to the area. Things are going well and we're working hard. I love this work. Sometimes, I don't even want to say goodbye to the work, but life needs to happen. I can't just be single and do nothing with my life for the rest of it. We call it, DO WORK SON!

Love you and miss you all! Have a great week :)
Halong Pirme,
Elder Ellis

Monday, August 4, 2014

8.4.14 Baptisms + Birthday = Busy but GREAT Week!

Dear Friends and Family,
Well, I'd like to thank y'all for the birthday wishes. I had an interesting birthday. Since I was transferred this week, I just kinda kept my birthday a secret. I didn't want to do anything for it. But there's this magical thing called facebook that the members use any time I guess there's a new missionary and they found out right away. So, my birthday was good. We had a baptism this week, 3 people. The other small girl is a child of record that was just put on the same day as the baptism of the converts. I'm with Elder Urgelles again, my companion from San Enrique. Everyone in Kabankalan was super bummed out that I was getting transferred. I'll really miss Sister Lucerna, the Cornelio Family, and the Lumacad's, and Bro. Whenie. It was a really good area! The members were fantastic! I like my new area though, things are well and it's really nice. TONS of people and tons of work to be done. There's a companionship of Sisters here too. So there's 4 of us in the ward. It's nice. One of them goes home next week, so we'll have a new Sister in our ward next week. Work is going well. 

I don't have much time. We had to pay our water bill earlier and that took 2 1/2 hours to do. There was just tons of people. I hate Bacolod for that reason. haha. Everything is in my area. I've got all the malls, shopping centers, 7/11's, Ice Cream shoppes, everything. It's great! Let's pray I don't get super fat. haha. Just kidding.  Alright, I'll share some short stories though really quick:
Two weeks ago I guess there was a family that came to church. Not by being invited by the missionaries, but a member just invited them. They showed up. The missionaries didn't know that they weren't members so they didn't really talk to them much then this week they showed up AGAIN! So this week we talked to them, found out where they lived and everything. Family of 4 we're talking about here. Last night we went over to their house and taught them the Restoration and the Dad was hooked right from the start! We invited them for baptism on September 6 and gave them a Book of Mormon and they were just interested right from the start! I'm stoked right now!
Last night we were in a different lesson and one of the investigators that we were teaching at the end of the lesson asks if she can ask a question. We were like, go! Her question is this, "Why did one of the women of the church get excommunicated? I saw it on" I can't believe I've now got to explain to investigators about how women want the Priesthood and they started a group and went against the church and why she was excommunicated. Never in my whole mission did I think I would have to explain that. Guess it's world wide now... who would've guessed. 
Young Women in this ward are AMAZING!

Things are going well and we're doing great! Work is going fantastic, I'm not trunky ;) BOOM! I won't let myself get trunky!
I love you guys! Have a great week!